Purchasing property in Spain: Concordance between the Land Registry and Catastro Registry

We talk to Mrs. García Garrido of GARCIA GARRIDO about changing legalities in purchasing property in Spain… 

When purchasing property in Spain, it is important to know that the Land Registry and the Catastro Registry must both be notified to avoid complications and frustrating delays.

If someone owns a piece of land in Spain with a property on it, the plot as well as the house should be correctly registered with both the Land Registry and the Catastro Registry.

During the process of purchasing a property, such as plots, houses, apartments etc. the involved parties sign a public document, the public property deed (Escritura publica de propiedad) which contains the description of the property; and information such as the situation, dimension, general description, boundaries etc. The purchaser acquires the property per these details, as registered in the Land Registry.

The content of the public deed is registered with the Land Registry; and today this also must contain the catastral reference (this was not necessary in the past). This is a number that identifies the property in another registry, the Catastro Registry, which is a tax registry that contains the areal plans of the property, square meters and fiscal value.

As there are now two active registries, there can be problems relating to the details of both registries when they do not match. Sometimes one of the registries or even both do not contain the “real details” of the property. The rules for including the description details in public documents in Spain were previously not strict; and the registered details of old properties were not exact, therefore only approximations were registered.

In addition, the Castrato Registry and its activity are quite new and the properties that have been acquired in the past do not have a catastral reference, as this was not legally necessary.

During the creation of the Catastro register, the only details taken into consideration were those needed for this registry at its time of creation.

Today our laws and administrative and fiscal controls have changed and improved considerably. There has been radical change and it is now legally necessary that the details of the Land Registry and the public deed perfectly match with the Catastro Registry; and that both registries contain the real details of the property and not just an approximation.

There are established steps that should be followed when looking at details in the Land Registry and the Catastro Registry.

In cases where the details do not match, there are legal processes that will aim to solve the problem.

Usually it is necessary for the intervention of a lawyer who must investigate if there are any existing discrepancies. If this is the case, the lawyer will determine the solution and if necessary appoint an architect or surveyor who must elaborate on the corresponding report, and prepare the necessary modifications that will be registered in the corresponding registry.

Similarly, owners who are planning to sell must also take these issues into consideration. In case there are any errors, it would be necessary to correct them to avoid problems during the sale as anyone planning to acquire a property in Spain will request full legality of the property in both registries during the purchase process.


María José García Garrido

Avenida del Pla 130, 1º, Office 1.05

03730,Javea (Alicante) 


tel: 0034 96 646 08 58 / 0034 96 646 08 59




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